Duane Edgar Dewey, beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away at Clyde E Lassen State Veterans Nursing Home in St. Augustine, Florida on October 11, 2021. Duane was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Ernest and Mabel (Dorman) Dewey, on November 16, 1931. The family later moved to Muskegon. In his late teens, Duane moved to South Haven to live with his Aunt Gladys Bartholomew to work on the local farms. It was there he met and later married Bertha Bierhalter, prior to leaving for Korea. He and Bertha enjoyed 68 years of marriage before her passing in 2020.
Duane served on the front lines of the Korean War with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, CA. On April 16, 1952, Corporal Dewey, although wounded by an enemy grenade, smothered another exploding grenade with his own body to save the life of a corpsman and the other Marines around him. For that action he received the U.S. military's highest decoration for valor, the Congressional Medal of Honor.
After the Marines, Duane worked at Everett Piano Company in South Haven for a few years prior to attending Michigan Veteran's Vocational School at Pine Lake, MI. There he learned to repair office machines, and after completion, he opened his own business, South Haven Office Machines. He also drove school bus for South Haven Public Schools for several years.
In 1973, Duane and Bertha retired, sold their South Haven house, and moved to Irons, Michigan to their hunting cabin. That same year they started their annual trek to Gainesville, Florida for the winter to visit their grandsons.
Duane greatly enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing cards. He enjoyed getting together with his veteran buddies, especially if they were involved in any type of fund-raising event for the AMVETS, American Legion or VFW. He also enjoyed traveling to attend E-2-5 annual reunions, Congressional Medal of Honor Society annual meetings, and to Medal of Honor Host City Gainesville Texas to attend annual celebrations for Medal of Honor recipients.
Duane is a member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the Korean War Veterans Association of Gainesville FL, Navy League of the United States, 1st Marine Division Association, F. & A. M. Lodge #370 of Luther MI, South Haven Moose Lodge #697, past Commander and Life member of VFW Post #667 of South Haven, life member of the American Legion Post #49 of South Haven, and a life member and past Chaplain of the Duane E Dewey AMVETS Post #1988 of Baldwin, MI.
Duane is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Bertha, his sister Jean Sodini of Muskegon, and several brothers-in-law and sisters-in law.
He is survived by his daughter Arline Broome of South Haven MI, son Dwight (Kay) Dewey of Durham NC, grandsons, Lenny (Lisa) Schmit of Lakeland FL and Denny (Christina) Schmit of Williston FL, his brothers-in-law Lester “Butch” Bierhalter of Grand Junction, and Philip “Tip” Bierhalter of South Haven, 4 great-grandchildren, several nieces and nephews, extended family, and his many friends.
Visitation will be held from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM on Friday, October 22, 2021 at the Filbrandt Chapel in South Haven. Memorial services will follow the visitation at 1:00 PM with Pastor Eric Jarvis officiating. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Duane’s memory to your favorite veteran’s organization.
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